Is it possible to have your cookie and eat it too?
I’m so glad you asked. Summer is well and truly here, bringing the whole healthy eating thing into glaringly sharp changing-room-lights focus. Not just because of the amount of skin we’re starting to show (a pretty terrifying prospect all on its own), but also because the heat makes it so much harder to feel good if we’re eating badly.
There are lots of differing opinions out there as to what constitutes ‘eating badly’, but I think you can’t go too far wrong if you listen to your body. For me, that means I physically feel pretty awful if I’m on a constant diet of deep-fried foods, fatty meats, sugary drinks and refined carbs (basically all the fun stuff). But at the same time, mentally I feel pretty awful if I’m restricted to lettuce leaves and a wistful, longing look at the wine list.
So is there a balance? I think so. I feel pretty good and fairly sane if I’m eating complex carbohydrates like brown rice and wholemeal bread, a smattering of lean meats, loads of vegetables and the occasional reality check of eating whatever I want to.
Which brings us nicely to today’s recipe. It’s basically an adapted Anzac biscuit recipe, made with wholemeal flour, a reduced amount of sugar and without butter. Once again, I’ve gone with avocados in place of butter – honestly I think I ought to take out shares in an avocado farm – which lends the cookies a brilliant green tinge. Take a deep breath, and think of pistachios.
The final product has a dense chewiness (from the oats and coconut) amidst a soft, moist, cake-like texture (from the flour and avocados). They hit a fine balance of sweet-but-not-too-sweet – I personally think that they could go either way and be served alongside a coffee or on a cheese plate. Without strongly-flavoured ingredients, you do get a sense of the avocado, so if that worries you you might like to add a handful of chocolate chips, a mashed banana, or some cheese and tomato.
Avocado and oat cookies (makes 12)
2 small ripe avocados
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup wholemeal flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
¾ cup (60g) desiccated coconut
¹⁄3 cup golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons hot water
Preheat your oven to 165 degrees. While heating, you can toast the oats lightly while you get on with the cookies.
Place the flour, sugar and coconut into a large bowl.
Mash the avocados finely.
Place the golden syrup in a pot and heat gently, then add the avocados and stir until combined. This produces a slightly alarming-looking green mixture which may cause you to lose faith.
Add the hot water to the baking soda and then pour into the pot. The green mixture will turn into a frothy green concoction. At this stage, it would be perfectly natural for you to wonder what kind of crazy recipe you’re following.
Add the toasted oats to the flour and then pour in the wet ingredients and mix.
Shape into 7cm discs and flatten. Without butter, these cookies don’t spread at all so you can afford to place them quite closely together.
Bake at 165 degrees for 15 minutes and cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.